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Showing posts with the label recycling

Plastics Pile Up

China has effectively banned the import of waste paper and plastic, throwing recycling efforts around the world into chaos.  But what appears to be a crisis could turn out to be a good opportunity to question how we recycle.

I recently wrote about the impact of China's ban on Australia's recycling industry, and the dangers of stockpiling recyclable materials.  Here in Melbourne alone we've had a recycling plant fire last month, a paper and plastics stockpile fire that burned for multiple days in 2017, and a huge tyre fire in 2016.  Each of these fires was in an urban area, and I can remember smelling the smoke at the University of Melbourne in the heart of the city.  Alleged health impacts because of smoke from the 2017 Coolaroo fire form the basis of an ongoing class action lawsuit.

An alternative to dealing with paper and plastic waste is to burn it for energy.  Waste-to-energy incinerators are not ideal - they produce carbon dioxide and their emissions need to be filte…